Counterfeit crackdown; cannabis costs: CBC's Marketplace consumer cheat sheet

Miss something this week? Don't panic. CBC's Marketplace rounds up the consumer and health news you need.

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We bought dozens of products from AliExpress, Amazon, eBay, Walmart and Wish. Over half were suspected fakes.

Canadians are spending tens of billions of dollars each year shopping online. But a Marketplace investigation found you can't always trust the product descriptions, even when they appear to be legit. We tested dozens of products purchased from popular online retailers and found many suspected and confirmed counterfeits. We also took some products to our labs, including alleged Kylie Cosmetics and MAC makeup products, and found levels of dangerous metals well over the recommended limit from Health Canada. Read more.

CBC

Windsor, Ont., wants to be the 1st Canadian city to sign a deal with Amazon's Ring. But privacy concerns abound.

An increasing number of U.S. police forces are embracing Amazon's consumer technology — like Ring doorbell cameras — as a low-cost solution to help fight crime, and now Windsor, Ont., is thinking of getting in on the action. But some privacy experts, like University of Windsor Prof. Bonnie Stewart, are worried about the implications. She says Ring's police partnerships amount to "building a surveillance infrastructure that looks back at us."  Read more.

Thomas Daigle/CBC

Cannabis extract prices vary 'wildly' between provincially run stores

A CBC News analysis has revealed the price of cannabis capsules, sprays and oils varies widely across Canada, with the same product sometimes costing two to three times more in one provincially run online store than another. Daniel Bear, a drug policy expert at Humber College in Ontario, says inconsistent pricing from province to province is detrimental to the goal of wiping out the illegal market. Read more.

Michael Rich/CBC

Coronavirus just beginning to hurt Canadian economy, experts say

Business, retail and tourism experts say COVID-19, the newly identified coronavirus, has begun to hurt businesses in Canada, but its full impact won't be clear for some months. Jim Danahy, CEO of CustomerLAB, a retail consulting firm in Toronto, said the effects will be worse than those of SARS in 2003 because Chinese manufacturing has quadrupled since then. Read more.

Lorenda Reddekopp/CBC

What else is going on?

Babies frequently exposed to cleaning products at higher risk of asthma: study New research suggests frequent exposure to common household cleaning products can increase a child's risk of developing asthma.

Ottawa unveils new mortgage stress test rules that will make it easier to pass Starting in April, the government will change the rules that cover mortgage lending in a way that should, in the short term at least, make it easier to qualify for a loan to buy a home.

Pier 1 Imports files for bankruptcy protection, will close all Canadian stores Home goods retailer Pier 1 Imports Inc. announced Monday it is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States, a month after saying it would close all its stores in Canada.

CRTC hearings could open door to mobile disrupters — and possibly cheaper cellphone rates The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) hearings are expected to be a showdown between the nation's big mobile wireless providers — Bell, Rogers and Telus — and smaller providers who are bent on shaking up what some call an oligopoly-style market.

The latest in recalls

These Contigo water bottles for kids have been recalled due to a choking hazard.     This smoke and carbon monoxide detector has been recalled due to potential failure to operate.     These generators have been recalled due to a potential fire hazard.

This week on Marketplace

Jonathan Stainton

Counterfeit crackdown with Asha Tomlinson

Everybody's doing it — online shopping, that is.

Nearly 84 per cent of Canadians have whipped out their card and bought something in the virtual marketplace.

But how can you trust that what you're getting is the real deal?

In the world of counterfeit products, it can be hard to tell. Selling fakes online is a growing trend with very real health hazards.

So we tested five popular online retailers in this week's investigation: Amazon, Wish, AliExpress, eBay and Walmart.

We bought dozens of products, everything from electronics to sportswear to makeup.

Our results? You'll want to tune in to find out.

Watch our full investigation and past episodes of Marketplace anytime on CBC Gem

-Asha